Sikorsky has started final assembly on the S-97 Raider prototype after receiving the fuselage structure from Aurora Flight Services on September 20. The composite fuselage structure – which includes a cockpit, cabin and tail cone – is undergoing completions at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. Sikorsky plans to convert the fuselage, which is 36 feet long and weighs 11,000 lbs, into the S-97 Raider prototype. Demonstration flights are targeted in 2015 for U.S. military and other potential buyers.
Fuselage for the S-97 Raider prototype. Photo courtesy of Sikorsky
Sikorsky launched the S-97 Raider program in late 2010 as the first offshoot of its X2 Technology demonstrator, choosing 36 industry partners in 2011. Sikorsky and Boeing are submitting a version of the X2/S-97 as one of the competitors in the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) technology demonstrator, which leads into the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program (medium variant).